4 Daily Fantasy Baseball Value Plays for Friday 7/9/21
With production being highly variable on a night-to-night basis, daily fantasy baseball plays a bit differently than other sports.
An 0-for-4 dud from a chalky high-salaried slugger is a lot more common than a total dud from a top-salaried NBA player or even than a stinker from a top quarterback or running back.
That means that it's not uncommon for value plays to end up doing the heavy lifting in carrying your lineup. The fact that they can be the difference between a good and a great lineup isn't much different than other sports, but value plays being able to make up for a whiff on a high-salaried play completely is somewhat unique.
Let's get right into it and take a look at the top value options on today's 14-game main slate.
Kenta Maeda, SP, Minnesota Twins ($7,300)
The highest salaried pitcher on tonight's loaded 14-game slate is Alek Manoah ($10,300), who is making just his eighth big league start. In other words, the pitching pool is as wide open as it'll ever be on a slate this big. One intriguing value play we need to consider is Kenta Maeda.
As his 5.03 ERA would seem to indicate, rostering Maeda doesn't come without significant risk, but then again, you'd be hard-pressed to find a hurler who doesn't possess some risk tonight. The veteran righty's peripherals suggest that he's been quite unlucky this season. To date, Maeda sports a 4.06 xFIP and 4.18 SIERA, and his real-life ERA has ballooned due to a BABIP (.330) that's ridiculously higher than it was last season (.208).
Maeda finally saw some correction in his last trip to the mound, as he racked up 10 punch-outs in 6 frames without ceding a run against the Kansas City Royals.
Tonight, the Minnesota Twins will be taking on the Detroit Tigers, a team that's striking out at the second-highest clip against right-handed pitching this season (26.4%). The 33-year-old toed the rubber versus Detroit in his second start of the season and amassed 40 FanDuel points -- just one of three starts with more than 30 this campaign.
Alex Kiriloff, OF, Minnesota Twins ($2,700)
According to numberFire's Matchup Heat Map, Minnesota's 5.62 implied run total tonight is second to only the Boston Red Sox. The Twins will be squaring off against Tigers rookie Matt Manning, who has been utterly atrocious in 2021.
Before we get to what Manning's done in the Majors, let's talk about what he did in Triple-A, where, through 32.1 innings, he was pelted for 40 hits, 10 walks, 29 earned runs, and 11 home runs. Jumping up a level hasn't exactly provided better results, as Manning has posted a 7.94 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, and a...wait for it...7.4% strikeout rate through 17 1/3 innings. That's laughably bad.
The 23-year-old righty doesn't have enough innings to have any meaningful splits yet, but there's no reason not to target Minnesota's economically-salaried lefties, including Alex Kirilloff.
Kiriloff struggled through his first eight games in the majors, but in his 43 outings since (176 plate appearances), he's garnered 18 extra-base hits (7 homers), 29 RBI, 19 runs scored, and a .826 OPS. That'll play.
Luis Arraez, 2B, Minnesota Twins ($2,500)
Yep, a third player from the Twins. I guess that's just the way the cookie crumbled tonight.
Luis Arraez has been red hot recently for Minnesota, and we should look to include that kind of form in our lineups. In his last 17 games (a nice 69 trips to the plate), Arraez has accumulated 8 extra-base hits, 7 RBI, 13 runs scored, a .339 average, a .907 OPS, and 6 walks to just 7 strikeouts.
In his career versus right-handed pitching, Arraez has hit at a .341 clip while posting a 127 wRC+ and striking out just 8.5% of the time. Those are rock-solid numbers, especially against a pitcher who allows more traffic on the bases than New York City during rush hour.
Tommy Pham, OF, San Diego Padres ($2,500)
Despite the fact that he had an 0-19 slump in there, Tommy Pham has been on an absolute tear over his last 45 games. During that stretch, the 33-year-old has assembled a .309 average, .411 on-base percentage, .961 OPS, 21 extra-base hits (8 dongs), 22 RBI, 35 runs scored, and 9 stolen bases. That's resulted in a multitude of monster FanDuel performances.
Pham, a right-handed hitter, has simply had his way with southpaws for a long stretch now. Since 2017, Pham has accrued a .298 average, .419 on-base percentage, .904 OPS, .187 ISO, and 148 wRC+ versus lefties. That'll come in handy tonight against Colorado Rockies southpaw Kyle Freeland.
Through 212 2/3 innings since 2019, Freeland has been rocked to the tune of a 5.71 ERA, 5.59 FIP, .871 OPS, .366 wOBA, and 1.8 dingers per nine. Wowza.
Freeland has been generous to hitters from both sides of the plate during that time, so we can essentially stack anyone from the San Diego Padres, but Pham stands out as a top value option.